Eminent Indian-origin broadcaster and journalist Mahendra Kaul died here on Wednesday, following a brief illness. He was 95.
Kaul, who had been ill for some time, passed away peacefully at his home early this morning, surrounded by his family. He is survived by his wife Rajni and daughter Kalyani Kaul, a prominent judge based in London.
Born in Srinagar, Kaul began his career with Radio Kashmir and went on to make his mark as a broadcaster with the All Indian Radio.
Following a stint with Voice of America in Washington, he joined the immigrants programme unit of the BBC in London, producing two weekly TV programmes for South Asian viewers for nearly two decades.
"It is very sad to hear of the passing of this great human being and friend. He was a pillar of the Indian community and the first Indian who raised the image and profile of India and Indians in the UK," said leading NRI industrialist Lord Swraj Paul.
Kaul became the first NRI to be honoured with an Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II back in 1975 for his services to race relations. Later, he also received the Duke of Edinburgh award for his work in the field.
One of Kaul's popular programmes on the BBC, 'Apna Hi Ghar Samjhiye' (Make Yourself At Home), ran for 14 years after he was brought in to present a host of such shows to help some of the early immigrants settle in and integrate into British society. He went on to interview a series of high-profile figures, including then Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and Indira Gandhi as well as Indian film icons like Raj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar.